Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Quick Banana Bread

I originally published this recipe to the Internet on March 16, 2007

This is my basic recipe for banana bread. I almost always fancy it up a bit with additions such as vanilla, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, grated orange peel, chopped nuts, raisins, dried blueberries, shredded coconut or whatever I have on hand that sounds good. Be creative.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups flour (I use 1 cup of whole wheat plus 3/4 cup of all purpose white.)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas (1 1/2 cups mashed)

Cream butter and sugar together. Stir in eggs one at a time. Add the mashed bananas and continue mixing well. Mix the flour with the baking powder and salt and add to the creamed banana mixture, mixing well.

At this point you can fold in any additional ingredients, such as chopped nuts.

Pour into a greased and floured* 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 50-60 minutes, until the top is chestnut brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake rest in the pan for five minutes, and then run a knife around the edge and remove to cool. Serves eight generously.

*I usually do not use flour for this step, but spinkle the oiled pan with granulated sugar instead.

Belgian Waffles

I first published this recipe on February 18, 2007

I have had my Belgian waffle maker for a few weeks now and it has been a great addition to my kitchen. Thanks to my neighbor Kathleen for recommending it. The waffles that I have made are as tasty as any that I remember eating in Belgium and they are far superior to any that I have ordered in American restaurants anywhere. Do not expect this recipe to be as good if you use an ordinary waffle maker, as it will not become hot enough. When my waffle maker first arrived I did not have all the ingredients to make the recommended recipe, so I used Jiffy Mix and the waffles turned out wonderfully. With the Jiffy Mix recipe, I did separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the batter and folding in the whipped egg whites at the last. Following is a recipe that I adapted from the one that came in the instruction booklet for the Waring Pro Belgian Waffle Maker. That original recipe did not turn out well for me, and I feel it was probably because the fresh milk was not scalded, which may have affected properties of the yeast.

Edna's Belgian Waffles (Makes Ten Waffles)

Classic Belgian waffles have a crispy outside and are soft and moist on the inside. The Belgians often serve them as a part of a celebration. You can try these waffles for something as simple as celebrating a beautiful day. My husband likes his with Mrs. Butter-Worth syrup. I prefer fresh fruit such as sliced strawberries or blueberries mixed with sweetened Greek yogurt or whipped cream.

* 1 1/4 cups water
* 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
* 4 eggs, separated
* 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 cups milk (scalded if using fresh milk)
* 3 cups sifted flour
* 1/3 cup sugar (I use Splenda)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of lukewarm (105°-110°F) water with a pinch of real sugar (not Splenda); let stand for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture begins to foam.

Cool the scalded fresh milk or heat the dry or canned milk in a heavy saucepan. Add the butter and when it has melted, stir in the oil, vanilla and remaining ¼ cup water and cool the mixture to lukewarm, 105°-110°F. Add the egg yolks to the yeast mixture and stir until smooth. Slowly stir the egg yolk - yeast mixture into the lukewarm liquid mixture.

Put the flour, sugar (or Splenda) and salt into the large bowl; stir to blend and then slowly stir the entire liquid mixture into the flour mixture and beat until it is smooth.

Let stand for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Whip the room-temperature egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold them into the waffle batter at the first 15-minute interval.

Preheat your waffle maker on your preferred setting. Setting #4 for the Waring Pro Belgian Waffle Maker achieves a golden brown baked Belgian waffle. You can adjust the browning control if you prefer lighter or darker waffles. The green ready indicator light will turn on and the waffle iron will beep when preheated.

Using the provided measuring scoop, pour the batter into the preheated iron. You may use a heat-proof spatula to spread the batter evenly over the grids, however once you get the knack of pouring the batter evenly you will not need to do this. Close the lid and rotate the waffle iron 180° to the right. Bake until the beeper indicates that the waffle is done. Rotate the waffle iron 180° to the left to open.

For best results, do not open the iron during the cooking of the waffle, as doing so offsets the timing mechanism.

I save the remainder of the batter not used, covered in the refrigerator, and two days later, I give it a stir or two, and it is just as delicious as when first made. Be creative. Orange or apple juice or flavored tea can be substituted for the 1/4 cup of water. Freshly grated orange rind or nutmeg can be added or a teaspoon of almond flavoring. The oil used can be a flavored one such as walnut or almond. A small amount of whole wheat, bran, ground oatmeal or almond meal can be substituted for the white flour. A couple teaspoons or so of flax seeds or chopped nuts can be added.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Your iPhone Tracks You Wherever You Go

Did you know your iPhone tracks you everywhere you go?

Go to Settings -> Go to Privacy -> Location Services -> and scroll all the way down to the last item, System Services. Open and scroll down to the bottom of System Services and tap Frequent Locations. Apple has hidden a feature here so that your iPhone tracks you everywhere you go. This depletes battery power by constantly tracking your whereabouts, so turn it off unless you want to be tracked. Then go back to the bottom of System Services and turn on the Status Bar Icon, so that you will know when one of your Apps is tracking you.

If you want to prevent your Apps from tracking you, you will need to read this article, which has many tips on saving iPhone battery power: The iPhone Battery Fix

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Where's the Haggis?

Scottish Breakfast of 1775: "He found Miss Bradwardine presiding over the tea and coffee, the table loaded with warm bread, both of flour, oatmeal, and barleymeal, in the shape of loaves, cakes, biscuits, and other varieties, together with eggs, reindeer ham, mutton and beef ditto, smoked salmon, marmalade, and all the other delicacies which induced even Johnson himself to extol the luxury of a Scotch breakfast above that of all other countries. A mess of oatmeal porridge, flanked by a silver jug, which held an equal mixture of cream and butter-milk, was placed for the Baron's share of this repast; but Rose observed, he had walked out early in the morning, after giving orders that his guest should not be disturbed. Waverley sat down almost in silence, and with an air of absence and abstraction" -- Waverley by Sir Walter Scott, 1814

The Richardson Hammer

A Snag from Edna

My father and grandfather patented this masonry hammer in 1935, while they were living in Baltimore, Maryland. I just came upon Google's Patent Search and looked up their names, Arthur J. Richardson and Edward J. Richardson. Voila - their patent popped up immediately: HAMMER - Richardson et al.

An interesting bit of trivia is that I see my father was using only the initial "J" for his middle names. His full name on his birth record was "Edward Arthur James Richardson." I am posting it under "technology," although that does seem a bit odd for a hammer in today's computer world. But ... it was something new, wasn't it? A new technology for masonry?

Those ever-inventive Richardsons! What will they think up next? See A Richardson Grandson.

The image, Richardson Hammer, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Barneykin's FLICKR account.